Lumbini hosts over a million tourists in 2016

- AMRITA ANMOL, BUTWAL

Jan 3, 2017-

More than one million domestic tourists visited Lumbini in 2016, representing a 107.66 percent rise as compared to the 2015 figure. 

According to the statistics of the Lumbini Development Trust, there were 488,852 domestic visitors in the birthplace of Gautam Buddha in 2015. The number of domestic visitors to Lumbini had nosedived in 2015 to earthquakes and subsequent trade embargo. 

Likewise, foreign visitor numbers rose 5.48 percent to 136,253 last year. The number of Indian visitors stood at 134,269, up 3.08 percent. 

Overall, Lumbini recorded a 71.81 percent jump in visitor numbers to 1.28 million last year. According to the trust, there were 56,033 Sri Lankan and 21,926 Thai visitors.

Likewise, the holy site received 15,284 visitors from Myanmar; 14,890 from China; 3,901 from South Korea; 3,263 from Vietnam; 3,086 from the Netherlands; 2,917 from Taiwan; 1,480 from Japan; 1,334 from the UK; and 1,272 from the US. 

The trust said political stability was the main reason for the rise in the visitor numbers. “Aggressive publicity on social and other media, political stability in Thailand, Sri Lanka and other Buddhist countries also played a key role in increasing visitors to Lumbini,” it said.

The average length of stay of foreign tourists in Nepal is 12 days, but most travellers visiting Lumbini barely stay for 30 minutes, according a study conducted in 2013. The survey titled “Visitors Survey and Observation” revealed 72.6 percent of the visitors spent only half an hour sightseeing in Lumbini.

The study was conducted among 293 tour groups by Unesco’s Japanese Funds-in-Trust Project in January 2013. It also showed 21.8 percent of the visitors spent less than an hour, and 5.5 percent more than an hour in Lumbini. 

In 2014, Lumbini received 1.12 million visitors. The figure also includes Nepali visitors who make up a large share of the arrivals. A majority of foreign tourists visiting Lumbini are handled by Indian tour operators. They enter Lumbini overland from across the Indian border, and spend a few minutes looking around and taking pictures.

Published: 03-01-2017 08:50

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